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Why did a valley outside the old city of Jerusalem named Gehenna get translated as Hell? (Mat 5:22, Mat 5:29, Mat 5:30, Mat 10:28, Mat 18:9, Mat 23:15, Mat 23:33, Mar 9:43, Mar 9:45, Mar 9:47, Luk 12:5, Jam 3:6)


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Have you done any research at all about the different words translated hell and their origins? This sounds either like you have done none at all our you have done so much you already have an opinion and just want us to find it. –  Caleb Jan 1 at 0:22
@ Only he is good. Please explain where you got the impression that Gehenna is a city. I am aware that there is also a valley in Jerusalem which bears the name Geenna, (γέεννα) and used figuratively in the KJV as the place of eternal punishment. That would in fact be the lake of fire and not Hell which will be cast into the lake of fire. Gehenna as defined in Webster: GEHEN'NA ge-hinom, the valley of Hinom, in which was Tophet, where the Israelites sacrificed their children to Moloch.This word has been used by the Jews as equivalent to hell, place of fire or torment and punishment –  Bye Jan 1 at 0:26
@Bye If you read carefully "Why did a valley outside the old city of Jerusalem". I apologize if I give the impression that Gehenna is a city. I was trying to point out the city of Jerusalem to help locate the valley in question. Also Gehenna and Geenna (as you have found) are two renderings of the same word. –  Only he is good. Dec 6 at 14:34
@Caleb Thank you, I have indeed done some research about the different words translated as hell and their origins. Though I run into a logical error when trying to determine how this valley is to be thrown into a lake of fire as Bye points out. So why this valley gets added to the concept of hell is a real question. –  Only he is good. Dec 6 at 14:39

1 Answer 1

In his commentary on Psa. 27:13, Rabbi David Kimchi explained this phenomenon:

And I believed that I had hope in Yahveh and would see His goodness in the world to come. And this is “in the land of the living” (בארץ חיים). And he called the world to come “the land of the living.” And although the soul has no place or any dwelling on earth, yet as the goodness of the world to come is compared (נמשל) to Gan Eden, which is (literally) a place on earth, it was said by way of a parable (משל) for the understanding of the hearers.

האמנתי שיש לי תקוה בח”י ואראה בטובו לעולם הבא. וזהו בארץ חיים. וקרא לעולם הבא ארץ חיים, ואף על פי שאין לנשמה מקום וכל שכן ארץ. אלא לפי שנמשל טוב עולם הבא לגן עדן, שהוא מקום בארץ, להבין השומעים נאמר דרך משל.

Likewise, the judgment of the wicked is called “Gehinnom.” And it is (literally) a place on earth near Yerushalaim. And it is a repulsive place, and they throw unclean things and corpses there, and there was always fire there to burn the unclean things and the bones of the corpses. Therefore, the judgment of the wicked is called “Gehinnom” (גיהנם) by way of a parable (משל). And the reward of the righteous is called “Gan Eden,” which is the most remarkable place on earth, and it is called “the land of the living” since when a man is expelled from there, he is sentenced to death.

כמו שנקרא גם כן משפט הרשעים גיהנם והוא מקום בארץ סמוך לירושלים, והוא מקום נמאס ומשליכים שם הטומאות והנבילות, והיה שם אש תמיד לשרוף הטומאות ועצמות הנבילות, לפיכך נקרא על דרך משל משפט הרשעים גיהנם. ונקרא שכר הצדיקים גן עדן, שהוא מקום המשובח בארץ והוא נקרא ארץ חיים, כי כאשר גורש האדם משם נקנסה עליו מיתה.

For more information, you may see my blog post entitled, "Gehinnom."

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I am hoping to get a more inside perspective on the translators reasoning for choosing the word Hell, rather then understanding how it is a punishment. How it is a punishment, you did answer, and thank you. –  Only he is good. Dec 6 at 14:45

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